Re: The most compelling argument against extropian ideas

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Thu Mar 29 2001 - 02:05:33 MST

From: "Damien Broderick" <>
> If you want to become a cyborg yourself, do so, your values are obviously
> deranged anyway. But please keep the technology to yourselves, because
> there are vulnerable people out there, the same ones who kill themselves
> with heroin in a foolish search for diversion from what, sadly, they see as
> a meaningless and hopeless life.

Tell you what, Damien. We're all fortunate that Ted Kaczynski did *not* have
you for his speech writer. You make this guy sound like Chief Seattle.

> This `cyborg' choice, like drug or gambling addiction , is NOT a fun
> alternative to living a complex human life, learning to deal with
> frustration and pain and the risks of love in the way that only a human
> being can, unlike a programmed computer--it's life as what Phil Dick called
> an `electric ant', pre-programmed and meaningless. Yet people keeping
> trying to vitiate their rich humanity and replace senstitive awareness and
> choice with stupor or mechanical `canned' routines? Why? Why?

Well, now... here we get a little carried away. Yes, why *does* the question
why occur?

> In promoting this terrible anti-human choice, in helping make it possible
> for people to believe that it's better to be a machine than a person, you
> collude with those who would destroy humanity. Why? Why? What the hell's
> *wrong* with you?

I don't know, I don't know, and Nothing, to answer the questions in the order

> Your self-destructive project will defeat every softer alternative, just as
> heavy tanks crush soft human bodies and seductive but wicked ideas seduce
> generation after generation into ruin. It's beyond comprehension that we
> remain so susceptible to the lure of the death-lovers, but we do, and you
> will win, you damned maniacs.

You could make billions as an attorney. (Maybe you have, and didn't feel like
mentioning it.) Doesn't matter, there is no softer alternative, because there
is no alternative. This fact may cause discomfort, but nothing compared to the
torment of knowing that humanity teeters on the brink of cognitive phase
transition. We're damned demigods.

> I think this cry of pain and rage must be met with a considered reply,

I think you're right, and only you could compose such a reply.

> one
> that points out that (for example) enhancement of current human capacities
> is NOT the same as repudiation of human decencies, of love, of all those
> values typically and often legitimately seen as threatened by
> `mechanisation', `global rationality', etc.

OK, we're only arguing against the hypothetical cry of pain you've given
character to, but enhancement of current human capacities threatens the State
of Arkansas (as just one example), which recently legislated against teaching
biological evolution uncontaminated by creationism. When you get a chance to
crush this regressive force, it makes sense to use the opportunity.

Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia

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